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Jim Weider's Project Percolator - Pulse

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Some may know this versatile guitarist from his work with beloved roots rock outfit The Band---Weider took over lead guitar chores for the legendary group when Robbie Robertson left and the gig ended up lasting fifteen years. Weider has also performed or recorded with an endless list of greats including Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Graham Parker, Keith Richards and Lee Rocker. Pulse, however, sounds like none of these artists as Weider delves into a set of self-penned, mostly instrumental guitar jams. Weider's back-up (drummer Rodney Holmes and guitarist Mitch Stein from the Steve Kimock Band, bassist Steve Lucas) is called Project Percolator for good reason; on "Squirrels in Paris" the three cook up a funky little jump number propelled by Holmes' frenetic skins work while Weider lays back a little and lets the guys sizzle. But Weider is merely biding his time until he can completely unleash on "Pulse," the high-energy Eric Johnson-style rocker that follows. "No Exit Strategy" sounds like Jeff Beck mashed up with Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" while "Talking with You" is a slow, dreamy number reminiscent of something from the Robin Trower songbook. "Man Cry" gives the initial impression that it's going to be a steamy Delta blues number featuring Weider on slide guitar but after a brief intro the song morphs into another jazzy barnburner; still the arrangement leaves room for tasty solos from Lucas and Holmes and even briefly accommodates a sly nod to the Beatles. Pulse is definitely driving music but the band even choogles when they pick up Sam Butler (The Blind Boys of Alabama) for the gospel-tinged "Release Yourself," Pulse's only vocal track. Butler may sing the band all the way to church but with Pulse being a true band effort, Weider and Project Percolator take everyone else to school.

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